What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night: FANatic (dir by Jean-François Rivard)


Around 2 a.m. this morning, I watched the latest Lifetime Movie Network premiere, FANatic!

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Why Was I Watching It?

Okay, so technically, I didn’t watch this last night.  It premiered last night and I recorded it because I was watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead.  However, I don’t think What Lisa Recorded Last Night has quite the same ring to it.

As for why I watched it at 2 in the morning — well, I fell asleep last night around 11:00.  And then I woke up at one.  Seeing as how I had already gotten my usual two hours of sleep, I decided that I might as well watch a movie!

What Was It About?

Nikki Myers (Katy Breier) has finally landed her dream job.  She’s working as an assistant to Tess Daniels (Betsy Brandt), a highly acclaimed actress who happens to be the star of Nikki’s favorite show!  It’s an enjoyably silly sci-fi show, one on which Tess co-stars with her husband, Hunter Clay (Benjamin Arthur).  When the show started, Tess and Hunter were equals and Tess considered her role to be empowering.  But, over the past few seasons, things have changed.  Tess now finds her role to be demeaning and limiting.  While Hunter gets to play the hero, Tess’s role becomes more and more about providing fan service for the show’s male viewers.  Tess wants to leave the show…

But if Tess leaves the show, where does that leave Nikki!?  Nikki’s spent the last few weeks bragging to her two friends about her job!  If the show ends, how will Nikki be able to continue to steal props from the set?  And how will she be able to continue to lie to her friends about the imaginary affair she’s having with Hunter!?

Seriously, when you look at things from her point of view, can you blame Nikki for becoming a little bit homicidal?

What Worked?

Yay!  If nothing else, FANatic showed that the Lifetime-Degrassi conduit still exists!  Perhaps because so many Lifetime films are produced in Canada, it’s not unusual to see former Degrassi actors pop up in supporting (and, sometimes, lead) roles.  On Degrassi, Jake Epstein played the lovable, bipolar, drug addicted musician/photographer Craig Manning.  In FANatic, he plays a slightly less likable character, a misogynistic television producer.  Still, it’s always good to see Jake.

Anyway, FANatic was a lot of fun to watch, mostly because of the loving detail that was put into creating Tess and Hunter’s irresistibly silly sci-fi show.  What’s interesting is that, if that show actually was on the air, it probably would be, at the very least, a cult hit.  I knew more than a few people who would probably watch every episode.

Katy Breier did a good job playing the fanatic of the title.  A film like FANatic is only as good as its villain and Breier brought a lot of life to the role.

What Did Not Work?

Seriously, why are redheads always crazy in Lifetime movies?  Of course, that’s really not something that didn’t work.  That’s just something that I, as a member of the 2% of the world’s population who has red hair, always notice.

But back to the question — hey, it all worked!

“Oh my God!”  Just like me moments!

It’s hard for me to imagine myself ever becoming obsessed with any show to the extent that Nikki does.  Then again, if that show starred James Franco…

Lessons Learned

You can’t spell “fanatic” without “fan!”

What Lisa Watched Last Night #161: Under The Bed (dir by Daniel Myrick)


Last night, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere film, Under the Bed!

under-the-bed

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, there were a few reasons why I watched it.  First off, it was on Lifetime and, by this point, it’s kind of a tradition around these parts that I always live tweet every Lifetime premiere.  Secondly, I watched it so that I could write this review.  After all, it’s a new year and that means that it’s time for a new set of What Lisa Watched Last Night reviews!

Add to that, the film had the word “bed” in the title so I assumed there would be a lot of sex.

What Was It About?

It’s yet another Lifetime stalker film!  This one, which is apparently based on a true story, features Hannah New as Callie Monroe.  Callie’s an acclaimed journalist who has a beautiful home, a cute dog, and absolutely no love life.  She’s just broken up with her longtime boyfriend and its going to take more than winning a Pulitzer for her article about climbing Kilimanjaro to fill the void in her life!

What Callie doesn’t know is that there’s a man  (played by Pat Healy) living underneath her bed.  Seriously.  He’s broken into her apartment.  He’s put secret cameras all over the place.  And he is now literally living underneath her bed, from which he regularly sends her messages.

Say it with me now — Agck!

What Worked?

Under the Bed was directed by Daniel Myrick, who co-directed the original Blair Witch Project.  There were a few effectively creepy scenes in the movie.  I mean, just the idea of having a stranger living with you in your bedroom without your knowledge is creepy in and of itself.  You could probably argue that the success or failure of this film depended on whether or not it inspired you to look underneath your bed after watching it.  I know I did.

Hannah New gives a good and sympathetic performance as Callie and Pat Healy is appropriately frightening as her stalker.  Beverly D’Angelo also provides some good support as Callie’s mother.

What Did Not Work?

(Spoiler Alert)

Freddy the Dog dies.  Freddy is an adorable little dog that Callie owns.  Unlike his owner, Freddy understands that there’s a man living underneath the bed.  So, one day, the man puts Freddy in a bag and buries him alive.  And we see all of this happen and, quite frankly, it’s too much.  First off, there was no reason to kill Freddy.  Secondly, the burial scenes ends on a somewhat ambiguous note so you’re not really sure whether or not Freddy was fully buried or not.  I spent the entire final hour of the film waiting for Freddy to suddenly show up and it really depressed me when he didn’t.

There’s more to the thing with Freddy than just the fact that I don’t like scenes of animal cruelty.  The scene itself didn’t only feel unnecessary but it also felt incredibly mean-spirited as well.  If you want to kill the dog that badly, have him dragged off-screen and do the little whimper thing.  Instead, by having us watch as Freddy’s buried alive, it felt like the film was saying, “Look how edgy we are!  We killed the dog!”  It felt terribly out-of-place and it soured me on the entire film.

It also didn’t help that the stalker was so obvious about what he was doing that, pretty soon, you started to resent Callie for being so naive.  When Callie finally discovered her stalker and started to fight back, it never felt empowering.  Instead, I was just kinda like, “Well, it’s good that you’re finally aware of what’s going on in your apartment but this could have all been avoided if you had just happened to glance under your bed once or twice over the past week.”

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

In some ways, I could relate to Callie but — and this is the important thing — I know I don’t have to worry about anyone living underneath my bed because, between all of my scrapbooks and old magazines, there’s no room under there.

(That said, Doc Bowman does enjoy hanging out underneath my bed but I’m pretty sure he can be trusted.)

Lessons Learned

Be kind to animals, dammit.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #160: Nightmare Wedding (dir by Jose Montesinos)


Last night, in between wrapping birthday presents and eating dinner, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere, Nightmare Wedding!

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Why Was I Watching It?

It all started a little over 6 years ago when Arleigh asked me if I’d like to review movies for the Shattered Lens.  When I said yes, that meant I was promising to watch and review as many movies as possible.  If I hadn’t watched and reviewed Nightmare Wedding, I would be breaking my promise to Arleigh!

Add to that, Nightmare Wedding was a Lifetime film and I love Lifetime films!  And let’s be honest — how can you not watch something called Nightmare Wedding?  That’s a great title!

What Was It About?

After six years of dating, Max (Isaac Reyes) and Sandy (Nicola Posener) are finally getting married!  However, there’s a bit of a problem: Max’s friend, Roman (Evan Henderson), suddenly shows up for the ceremony.  Before she got together with Max. Sandy briefly dated Roman.  Now, she hates Roman.  Her family hates Roman.  He friends hate Roman.  Everyone hates Roman except for Max!

For his part, Roman is still in love with Sandy and he’s obsessed with both stopping the wedding and winning her back.  And if that means that he has to kill a few people, send a few incriminating text messages, and do a few other shady things, that’s what Roman’s going to do!

Sandy’s friend Lisa (Angie Teodora Dick) attempts to confront Roman about his stalkerish behavior.  Unfortunately, she makes the mistake of doing this while standing on the edge of a cliff.  Roman responds by tossing her over the side.  AGCK!  I hate it when they kill off anyone named Lisa!

What Worked?

This was the epitome of a Lifetime guilty pleasure.  Yes, the plot was totally ludicrous and, to a large extent, Roman’s plan depended upon everyone being an idiot.  But, even with that in mind, the movie was still a lot of fun.  One thing that I especially appreciated was the fact that Roman was so obviously psychotic and yet no one ever seemed to notice or care.  Normally, that might be cause for criticism but Nightmare Wedding pushed things to such an extent that it became oddly charming.

Nicola Posener did a good job in the role of Sandy.  You had sympathy for her and you really did find yourself hoping that she would get to have her dream wedding.  Evan Henderson went so far over the top as Roman that his performance actually worked in a very odd and unexpected sort of way.

(Add to that, Evan bared just enough of a resemblance to Ryan Hansen that I could pretend that I was watching a spin-off of Veronica Mars.)

What Did Not Work?

Max was such a wimp!  Seriously, after about five minutes, I found myself repeatedly shouting, “Be a man!” whenever he showed up on the screen.  You didn’t want Sandy to get together Roman but, at the same time, it was impossible not to feel that she could have done a lot better than Max.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Megan (Gina Vitori), Sandy’s fun-loving sister.  She was determined to have a good time, regardless of how many psychos showed up for the wedding.  Watching Megan defiantly refuse to take the wedding seriously reminded me of my own refusal to take 2016 seriously.  Good for Megan!

Lessons Learned

Never call out a psycho while standing on the edge of a cliff.  It’s just common sense.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #159: Best-Selling Murder (dir by Michel Poulette)


Last night, after I watched Little Girl’s Secret, I turned over to the Lifetime Movie Network and I watched Best-Selling Murder!

best-selling-murder-vanessa-ray

Why Was I Watching It?

The obvious answer, of course, is that it was a Lifetime premiere and y’all know how much I love my Lifetime movies!  But, even beyond that, there were two reasons why I made it a point to watch Best-Selling Murder.

1) Much as with Little Girl’s Secret, I was hoping that — by watching and live tweeting Best-Selling Murder — I could bring some joy to an otherwise depressed world.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get much live tweeting done because it was late and I was kinda tired.

2) It was a murder mystery about a writer!  I’m a writer and I’d love to solve a real-life murder mystery!  Obviously, this would be a movie to which I would be able to relate.

What Was It About?

Hannah (Vanessa Ray) is an acclaimed author who has run out of ideas.  Actually, not only has she run out of ideas, but she’s also now on the verge of running out of opportunities.  Her publisher is dropping her.  As they explain it, awards and accolades don’t mean anything.  People wants novels about teenage vampires and middle-aged bondage.

Of course, that’s not all Hannah has to worry about.  Her creep of an ex-husband has married and impregnated her former best friend.  She has not one but two stalkers following her around.  And she also appears to have something of a drinking problem!

However, things start to look up after she starts to channel her rage into a serialized series of stories, all of which deal with a serial killer named Bloody Mary.  If you betray Bloody Mary, you get stabbed in the heart…

Suddenly, people who have betrayed Hannah start to turn up dead.  And guess what?  They’ve all been stabbed in the heart!

What Worked?

Everything worked!  Pulpy, melodramatic, and occasionally a little silly, this movie was the epitome of everything that makes Lifetime great.  Don’t worry about whether or not the plot makes any sense.  Don’t worry if some of the twists come out of nowhere.  Instead, just enjoy the ride.

Vanessa Ray was well-cast as Hannah.  Not only was she a sympathetic protagonist but you also actually believed that she capable of being a somewhat respected author.  I’m always extremely sensitive to how writers are portrayed in the movies.  Vanessa Ray was never less than believable.

Considering the number of Lifetime films that I’ve seen, it’s not easy to take me by surprise but this film’s twisty plot kept me guessing.

What did Not Work?

There was nothing that didn’t work about this film.  Best-Selling Murder is exactly the type of movie that we watch Lifetime for.  It was a melodramatic, fun, and even surprising.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I always relate to any film about a writer, especially if that writer is dealing with the darker side of life.  It’s true that I’ve never gotten to solve a murder but who knows what the future holds!

Lessons Learned

Don’t upset Bloody Mary.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #158: Little Girl’s Secret (dir by Dominic James)


Last night, I watched Little Girl’s Secret on Lifetime!

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Why Was I Watching It?

Oh my God, everyone’s so depressed right now!

Or, actually, I should say that almost everyone I know is depressed right now.  Obviously, the entire country is not depressed about Donald Trump winning the election because 60,000,000 people voted for him and I assume that they’re all happy.  But the 60,000,0000 who voted against him are all pretty depressed right now.  And, even worse, a lot of them are blaming my generation because not many of us voted and quite a few of us decided to vote third party.

My twitter timeline is seriously dark right now.

So, I figured that maybe I could cheer some people up by doing one of my famous Lifetime movie live tweets!  Looking to help heal a divided nation, I watched Little Girl’s Secret on Lifetime and I tweeted every single thought that popped into my head.  I don’t know if I saved the world but I certainly did increase my Klout score.

What Was It About?

That’s a good question!  This film left me thoroughly confused, though that may be because I’m currently spending the weekend at my uncle’s and, as I tried to watch and tweet, I was also having to deal with 100 hyperactive cousins.

As far as I could tell, here’s what was happening in the movie: Jean (Maria Bello) is an artist.  Dave (Callum Keith Rennie) is a writer.  Molly (Sophie Nelisse) is Jean’s teenage daughter.  Heather (Isabelle Nelisse) is Dave’s daughter.  Michael (William Dickinson) is someone’s son.  I guess he’s Molly’s brother but it wasn’t always easy to keep track of how everyone was related.  He could have been Dave’s son and Heather’s brother.  It really doesn’t matter.

Anyway, in 1982, this family leaves Baltimore and moves into a new home — a former church that’s been turned into a house!  There’s a cemetery out back.  There are ruins nearby.  There’s a ghostly apparition that appears occasionally.  Heather, who doesn’t feel like she belongs in this reconstructed family, is soon spending all of her time talking to the apparition.

Meanwhile, Molly is having nightmares and she keeps seeing birds forming ominous shapes in the sky.  (It’s kinda like in Take Shelter.)  She also starts to hear noises in the dark and see ominous shadows in unlit rooms.  Why doesn’t anyone ever turn on the lights?

What Worked?

It had its share of creepy moments.  Molly’s dreams were always well-executed.

What Did Not Work?

This movie was so damn dark!  I don’t mean thematically.  I mean that it was often hard to see what was going on in the movie because it never seemed to occur to anyone to turn on a light!  I get the point, of course.  This was a horror movie and everyone’s scared of the dark.  But, after a little while, the constant darkness went from being atmospheric to just being silly.

Maria Bello, a terrific actress, was pretty much wasted in a minor role.

I was going to complain about the film’s pacing but I think that has more to do with the fact that it premiered on Lifetime than anything else.  It’s difficult to maintain suspense when you’re having to stop every few minutes for a commercial break.

And finally, the plot itself was overly complicated and not particularly easy to follow.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Molly in quite a few scenes.  I was a rebellious 14 year-old too.

Lessons Learned

TURN ON THE DAMN LIGHTS!

Reblog: Lisa’s Thoughts on Halloween II (directed by Rick Rosenthal)


And now that you’ve re-read Arleigh’s review of the original Halloween, why not check out my review of the original Halloween II? This was originally published in 2012! After reading this, be sure to check back in about 90 minutes for Case’s review of Halloween 4! And then come back on Thursday for Halloween 5! (Where’s Halloween 3? It will be dealt with as soon as we finish the saga of Michael Myers…)

Through the Shattered Lens

Last night, I watched Halloween II.  No, I’m not referring to the rather disturbing Rob Zombie movie that came out in 2009.  Instead, this Halloween II was the original sequel to the original Halloween.  This version was written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill.  It was released in 1981 and I saw it in 2012, via Cinemax.

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it’s October, of course!  It’s horror month and Halloween is one of the great horror movies.  Would Halloween II turn out to be another great horror movie?  Well, to be honest, I figured it probably wouldn’t but I decided to watch it anyway.

What Was It About?

Halloween II picks up exactly from where the first Halloween ended.  The sole surviving babysitter, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), is being rushed to the hospital by two paramedics, one nice (Lance Guest) and one kinda crude and pervy (Leo Rossi). …

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What Lisa Watched Last Night #157: My Husband Is Missing (dir by Brenton Spencer)


Last night, I watched more than just The Crooked Man!  I also watched the latest Lifetime premiere, My Husband Is Missing.

mhis

Why Was I Watching It?

Because it was on Lifetime, of course!  Now, I do have to admit that it was something of a disjointed viewing experience.  I watched the first hour of My Husband Is Missing, just long enough to discover that the main character’s husband was indeed missing.  I then switched over to SyFy and I watched The Crooked Man.

After the Crooked Man ended, I started to watch the final hour of My Husband Is Missing off of the DVR but then I noticed that I also had an episode of Cheaters on the DVR as well.  Well, naturally, I couldn’t understand why I would have ever recorded an episode of Cheaters.  So, I decided to watch it.  I was thinking maybe it would be the episode where Joey Greco got stabbed.

Nope, no stabbing.  It was just a normal episode of Cheaters.  Since the show was filmed in Dallas, I saw a lot of familiar locations but I still have no idea why I recorded it.

Life is weird, y’know?

Anyway, after all that, I watched the final hour of My Husband is Missing.

What Was It About?

Dale Bradshaw (Robert Underwood) is a father and a husband.  AND HE’S MISSING!  He was kidnapped out of his SUV and now, his kidnappers are posting videos of him all tied up and gagged.  Are his kidnappers forcing him to act in an Eli Roth movie?  Agck!

Since the police are totally useless — except for Det. Matthews (Aaron Pearl), I guess — it’s up to his daughter (Nicole Munoz) and his wife (Daphne Zuniga) to figure out what has happened to Dale!

As for Detective Matthews, he wants to help but he’s struggling because of government bureaucracy.  Fortunately, to help him out, he has a hacker who looks like he stepped straight out of 1998.

What Worked?

Uhmm…

Actually, I will give the film credit for two things.  I loved the title.  According to the imdb, this film was originally known as Abducted Love but My Husband Is Missing is a hundred times better.  My Husband Is Missing just screams Lifetime.

Secondly, this is yet another Lifetime film that was obviously filmed in Canada.  That’s not a problem because I love Canada.  Still, I appreciated the fact that every scene seemed to have an American flag in the background.  It’s as if the filmmakers were saying, “The film is too taking place in the U.S., regardless of how Canadian most of the supporting cast may sound!”  I appreciated the effort.

That said, I’d like to see a Canadian film on Lifetime that proudly embraced the fact that it was Canadian.  Enough of this “let’s pretend we’re in upstate New York” stuff.  I want to see a Lifetime film that proudly shouts, “THIS MOVIE IS SET IN TORONTO!  YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH THAT!?”

What Did Not Work?

I usually have unconditional love for Lifetime films but this one just didn’t hold my interest.  Part of the problem is that I figured out the mystery after about 20 minutes.  There was no big or shocking twist.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

There is a redhead in the film but she works for the government and that’s something you’ll never find me doing.

Lessons Learned

Canada shouldn’t have to pretend to be upstate New York.